PALM DESERT, Calif. - Bullying continues to be hot topic for children and their parents, especially during the teen years.
In response to growing concern, Palm Desert high school took a proactive approach to educating their students.
The school hosted a training led by the Anti-Defamation League and funded by the Jewish Federation of Palm Springs.
"I believe that this really brought awareness to what was going on in our school," said Palm Desert senior and student body president Chelsea Lieuallen. "There was a lot of hurt."
The high school senior helped lead more than 600 of her peers in the training.
Students heard from speakers from the ADL about the destructive power of name-calling, especially in high school.
"A moment where people are really coming into their own," said Matthew Friedman from the Anti-Defamation League. "We need to get to them before they go out into the real world, work force, military, or college and get them.
We know that people are not born hating, they learn to hate, and you can also unlearn it."
Part of the motivation for the assembly was in response to an incident last year.
A student climbed on top of the roof of the gymnasium and threatened to jump. "I don't think that people really understood what the guy was going through, and sorrowful he was," said Lieuallen.
To close the program, students offered their own personal stories of bullying.
A segment that drew powerful reaction from the students including many tears.
"It really hits it home for the audience because they really understand what's going on and how it affects other people," said Lieuallen.
Palm Desert high school principal Robert Hicks found great joy in his students' reception of the program.
"I feel very proud to be at a school site that has so many students that are willing to dedicate themselves to change, at Palm Desert high school and speak so eloquently about their thoughts," said Hicks.